2 Nephi 22: 2,3

Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid; for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also has become my salvation. Therefore, with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.

Monday, May 28, 2012

May 28, 2012 A Week in Caucaia

Hey Everyone, Well this week was way fun. I got to spend the week in an area called Caucaia do Alto. It´s in the middle of nowhere. Lots of green, few people, and lots of walking. But it was way fun. My comp for the week was Elder Woodward. We found a few great people and I feel like I was able to help Elder Woodward alot. At the end of the week I came back to the office for Ivaneide´s baptism! It was awesome and the ward got way excited to see and eternal investigator get baptized. Well it´s the last week! I am going work til I die. Our baptisms for this week fell through but everything will workout for the best. I love you all and am excited to see people when I get home here in 8 days! Elder MacLane Taggart

Monday, May 21, 2012

May 21, 2012 Not Much to Say

Dear Family, Well, I don´t really have much to say. This week was way busy because we had zone leader council and new missionary training. We gave trainings about the Doctrine of Christ. We also had 3 baptisms!!! Rafael and Railson are brothers that were referrals from a young man in the ward. They are so good! They are already going to chruch in sunday clothes and are participating in everything. Leticia was going through some problems before the baptism. She wasn´t deciding on her course of action but one day we showed up and she said, "I´ve been waiting for God to fix all my problems before the baptism but I just realized that baptism is the solution to all my problems." So she got baptized. :) So that´s about it. We´re just running around like crazy people. Elder MacLane Taggart

Monday, May 14, 2012

May 14, 2012 Busy Week

Dear World, Well this week was so busy. We had zone conferencies everyday and we were running in our area because we have a bunch of people we are preparing for baptism. Luis Fernando was baptized! It was so awesome! I already talked to the fam yesterday so this is all I´m going to write today! Bye! Elder Taggart

Monday, May 7, 2012

May 7, 2012 Fireside Starring . . . Elder Taggart

Hey World! Wow! This week was amazing! I have never worked so hard and seen so many results! This week we ran all over the mission visiting all the zones and giving trainings. It was so fun! We are working so hard and God is blessing us so much! Even though we have very little time in our own area we have a ton of investigators that are progressing! This week are working to get two of our investigators baptized. Luis Fernando is super firm and excited. Leticia is the daughter of a recent convert that after a powerful family home evening finally decided to be baptized. Best story of the week! As we were getting ready to go to Church in the morning President Pinho called. "Hey Elders, I have a fireside tonight and I can´t go. You guys are going to have to do it for me." What!?! Yeah so basically Elder Hickenlooper and I became the featured speakers of a stake fireside with 2 hours to prepare. It actually turned out really good. And the best was that my recent convert from my first area was there and I totally cried when I saw her. It was amazing. Anyway, this week is going to be super busy also because we have zone conferences everyday. Let´s do it! Elder Taggart

Monday, April 30, 2012

April 30, 2012 Running to the Finish Line

Oi Família, Amigos, e Outros! Wow, I don´t think I have ever run around and worked so hard in my whole mission! This week was crazy! Like I said I was in the mission office on monday. My companion is Elder Hickenlooper! He is one of my best friends on the mission so I am so happy to be with him for my last transfer. He´s from Kaysville but will be living in Farminington after the mission. We also have another companionship that works with us Elder Archirots and Elder A Soares. They are both really cool. I think Elder Archirots is the most "interesting" missionary I have ever met, in every meaing of the word. Tuesday we did the big transfer meeting and in the afternoon we had to train the greenies. It was so fun to see all the new guys arriving. They speak portuguese so much better than I did when I got on the mission. Anyway we basically just told them about the mission culture and I became the 'mean' assistant when I told them that they needed to be obedient and if they didn´t want to they would be sent home. Well... what can ya do right? haha District meeting was wednesday and we talked about how to help incomplete families. Thursday we had to spend the day preparing the District Leader training on Friday. It went so well! I love giving trainings! We did some really cool practices too. Basically we have very little time to work in our own area so when we can we have to go a little crazy. The old assisentes basically burned out their teaching group so this week we went after a ton of new people and things are going really well. We have a bunch of young men that we are working with. We should have a few baptisms on the 12th and we have a good group for the rest of the month. I´m determined to go down baptizing! Anyway this week I learned alot about the worth of souls in the sight of God, especially mine. Basically we should not worry about what the world thinks about us. We should just be worried about what God thinks of us. When Christ visited the Americas the first thing Heavenly Father expressed was how pleased he was with Jesus. I got thinking if God would be that pleased with me. You will find a lot more happiness if you filter your life through that thought. That´s what I decided this week. Love you all, Elder Taggart

Monday, April 23, 2012

April 23, 2012 Finally Paying Off!

Hey World! Wow, I realize that my email last week was a bit dismal. This week made everything better. Our weeks of hard work finally started paying off! Now the trasfer ended. I realize that these last five weeks have definitely been a learning experience. It´s unfortunate that the area had to suffer so that God could teach me a lesson. Anyway I learned a lot about patience and diligence. The ray of sunshine of the transfer was Alaor´s family. I showed up in the area for their baptism and I was able to accompany them as they became fully active members of the church. It was a pleasure. This last week was great! On Tuesday we did an exposition in the city square and met a lot of really awesome people and throughout the week we visited and taught. We finally managed to form a good teaching group. One of the most interesting families we met was Toko and his wife and kids. They live in a tiny little town way far away from our city. We managed to get a ride from a member. It was raining and the car almost got stuck in the mud but in the end we got there. The lesson was great and in the end they accepted a baptismal date! We also had an amazing visit with some ex-investigators. Tiago and Ana Paula were going to be baptized but because of word of wisdom related problems they couldn´t and ended up slowly disappearing. We went back and had an amazing lesson about how their faith can grow into miracles. At the end of the lesson they all accepted a new baptismal date. Anyway everything turned around this week and... I was transferred. :P Right now I am writing you from the mission office. I was called as Assistent and will finish my last six weeks here back in the city. They told me last night at 11pm and after 3 hours of sleep I was already on the bus to São Paulo. We´ve already had a meeting with Pres. Pinho. I am so excited! Well, O Fim Se Aproxima! Elder MacLane Taggart

Monday, April 16, 2012

April 16, 2012 Working for Miracles

Well folks,

One more week has come and gone. This area is definitely a challenge. Unfortunately Sandra was just playing with us with the whole finally deciding to get baptized situation. She told Elder Brito in her interview that she isn´t ready to be baptized and that there is nothing we can to to help her. We visited her after and asked if she wanted our help to get baptized or not and she said no. So that´s how that ended.

We have been working with the zone a bit, trying to help them understand their purpose a little better and help more people get baptized. The training was pretty interesting. We taught them about the Doctrine of Christ and how our investigators need to understand that before anything else. Some understood and others flat out rebelled against us and basically told us they wouldn´t do what we taught them. When one of the District Leaders got up and said they needed to follow their leaders one of the Sisters said that her only leader was Jesus Christ. Long story short, President interviewed her on Sunday and she will be going home tomorrow.

So yeah, that´s what we´re working with here in the Interior. We are working so hard to get our investigators and our missionaries to understand how important it is that we not be robots that spit out 'The Restoration' at people. The Doctrine of Christ is the key to everything we do as missionaries. People need to understand that in order to be cleansed from sin they need to be baptized and that we are there to baptize them. Without this understanding nothing else that we have to teach them makes sense. It´s also the fastest way to know if someone is elect or not. "Do you want our help to be baptized with the authority of God? No? Alright then, bye." It´s so simple! We are battling our hardest here in the area to find the people that are going to say yes to this invitation cause when we find them we know they want what we have to offer.

Well that´s my piece for the week,
Elder MacLane Taggart

Monday, April 9, 2012

April 9, 2012 Here I Am Again

Well world,

Here I am again! One week older and wiser too. haha! Anyway this week was awesome! We have been working so hard!

Tuesday we had interviews with Pres. Pinho. He basically told me that I had a few weeks to fix this zone. So after that we got running and things are already getting better! We are spending a lot to time with the missionaries here in the zone and they are getting happier and more excited every day.

We had a miracle happen with our investigator Sandra. I don´t know exactly what happened but all of a sudden she got super firm for baptism. She´s been investigating the church since she was a teenager a few decades and six kids later she still hasn´t taken that step of faith. This week she told us and she couldn´t keep denying what she already knows is true and that she will be baptized on Sunday. Two of her sons will be baptized with her and the next Saturday another one of her sons and a daughter will be baptized also. All I know is that some sort of holy ghost magic happened and I couldn´t be happier about it :)

We also started teaching a super elect couple named Paulo and Janaina! They are newlyweds and neighbors of our recent converts. Janaina went to a family home evening at their house and at the end she said, "I heard your church does baptisms for the dead. Can I baptize my mom?" haha! We told her that we would visit her and her husband to explain more. When we visited them she had made a cake! She was a little embarrased because the cake didn´t turn out well and her husband was trying to make her feel better by joking around with her. It was exactly how I want my marriage to be. (I still have 2 months left, I can´t be thinking about these things! Ah!) We taught them about the doctrine of Christ and marked them to be baptized in May.

Anyway that is all there is for this week. Love you all!
Elder MacLane Taggart

Monday, April 2, 2012

April 2, 2012 New Beginnings in Itapetininga

Dear Everyone,

Well my second week in the interior has passed and I am discovering that it is a whole new ball game out here. The culture, the people, and even the missionaries are different, but these new challenges will teach me new lessons.

We were preparing Levi for baptism this week but unfortunately things fell apart. He demanded that God give him a job that he wanted and if he didn´t get it he wouldn´t baptism. He didn´t get the job and basically told us that he has already been saved because he accepted Jesus in his heart and that he didn´t want to be baptized. He wanted us to keep going there as friends but that won´t help us in any way so he´s out of the picture now.

We also lost our hopes with Beatriz. She´s the daughter of a less active couple in the branch who was marked for baptism. Her parents were on neither side of the fence so we did an extremely powerful lesson about the Plan of Salvation. At the end of the lesson it was very clear that they would have to choose to go back to church or not and they told us that they are not interested in any kind of future commitment, even if they means they won´t have an eternal family.

We are working with a really crazy lady named Sandra who is marked for baptism with her children for later in the month. She is insane! She just sits there and gives us a crazy looks while we teach and when she prays it looks like she is storing up energy to send some sort of beam at us after the amen. Haha! But she faithfully goes to church and fulfils commitments. The only thing we need to work on now is helping her make friends in the ward because she is super antisocial.

We are searching high and low for the elects in the area and have made some good plans so we´ll see what fruits this next week brings.

I am loving my new companion Elder Shettell. We are getting along really well and our teaching is getting better every day. We laugh and have a really good time in the work. I like working with people who find joy in the work. It´s hard when they don´t really care and are negative. We are both working hard and the blessings are starting to come.

This week we spent a lot of time in the Sisters´ area because of General Conference. We did an exposition in front of the bus station with the district between the sessions on Saturday. It was so cool! We had a bunch of missionaries and a table full of materials to give to people. We talked to a lot of people and found some really interested people. Even a few families that live in our area! Yeah! I loved General Conference. Even the part where Elder Holland burned me a bunch! It´s crazy to think that this was my last conference on the mission and that I´ll be going home in two month. It´s sad but at the same time I feel like if I just keep working my best til the end, everything will work out.

Well I love you all! I hope everyone is well.

Com Amor,
Elder MacLane W. Taggart

Monday, March 26, 2012

March 26, 2012 Wide Open Spaces

Dear Everyone,

Well last week I was transferred and one of my mission dreams has come true! I´m in the city of Itapetininga as zone leader of the interior! I am about 4 hours outside of São Paulo, in a beautiful city surrounded by wide open spaces, blue skies, and fresh air! This is exactly what I needed. The city is called 'the city of schools' because it is full of old schools and tons of classic architecture.

It was an adventure to get here. I was with Elder Hullinger who was also transferred to the interior. We had to grab a bus, two trains, and then a 'greyhound' style buss, all with 4 full size suitcases! haha! The journey was about six hours. We were met by Sister Neptune and Sister Dacol and then my comp showed up.

My new comp is Elder Shettell from American Fork. He is way fun and has a little more than a year on the mission. He gave me a wonderful welcome to the area present: 3 baptisms! We baptized a family on Saturday, no really a complete family, dad Alaor, mom Silvia and daughter Jessica.

The work here (as far as I can tell) is a lot different. The church isn´t as well established and is districts and branches instead of a stake and wards. The zone is more than 2x the size of all the other 12 zones put together! Missionaries tend to get a little slow out here but Elder Shettel and I have already started what we call 'Projeto Acorda-Se!'.

Anyway, I really like it here and will probably finish my mission out here so I´m excited. This week was way busy and I don´t really have any stories yet. Next week I´ll tell you more about the people and everything. Love you all!

Elder MacLane Taggart

Monday, March 19, 2012

March 19, 2012 Just When Things Were Getting Good

My Dear Friends and Family,

Well this week was very good. We are working very hard to create a new teaching group so we are visiting a ton of people and it´s a little unclear who will end up progressing right now.

I found out yesterday that I was transferred. I will be leaving Itapecerica da Serra tomorrow and have been called to be a zone leader again. These past few months have been incredible. I am so grateful for all that I have learned here and the opportunity I had to train Elder D. Monteiro. He is an awesome missionary and example to me. When we got here we found out that we were either going to make or break the area aka if we didn´t do well the president was going to close the area for good. Through a positive attitude and a lot of hard work we were able to gain the confidence of the members. The started participating in the work and with some truly inspired changes in the ward leadership, the ward is now a fully functioning missionary machine. Wednesdays and Fridays the chapel is open for soccer. Every other Thursday is ward family home evening (which was huge this week). Every Saturday there is an activity in the chapel of rotating organizations. Every month there will be Sunday night devotionals. And they are planning to visit ALL the less active members every trimestre (which they did last night and was a huge success). And it goes from there. I´m glad to know that any missionary can come to this area and have success now.

I´m kind of nervous about the transfer but I remember the hymn "I´ll go where you want me to go, dear Lord..." I love you all and hope you have an awesome week! The Church is true!

Elder MacLane W. Taggart


Monday, March 12, 2012

March 12, 2012 The Best Week Ever

Hi there!

This week was incredible! Arguably the best week ever! Every single day was full of love and the Spirit!

Let´s start with Monday! Monday night we taught a referral of recent convert Bruno, his sister. Her name is Claudia and the lesson was way special. Her little girl was crying the whole time but the spirit was still way strong and she understood the message and accepted all the commitments. After the lesson we went to our family home evening with Edivania´s family and guess what? They threw me a early surprise party for my birthday! The cake was a little burnt but it´s the thought that counts right?

Tuesday was edifying. Elder Godoy from the quorum of the seventy visited our mission and we had a big meeting with him. In the morning there was a special meeting for the mission leadership and he talked about the importance of being a balanced missionary. We need to have as much Spirit as we do technique. Then with everyone he joked around and gave an amazing training about how to discover and resolve the problems of our investigators. It was a very entertaining meeting.

District meeting was alright. We had a zone counsel for the month of February. After the meeting we had a few good visits. At night we visited the kids: Mauricio, Joana, and Ana Beatriz. They have been way prepared for baptism for several weeks now so this week we just did positive contacts with them everyday. Leaving their house one of the kids that watches the lesson stopped us and said, "Can I tell you guys something?" "Sure!" "I like you a lot!" And then he opened up his arms and jumped to give us a hug. It made me feel so good!

We had new missionary training again on Thursday because of the 12 week program. It wasn´t very well prepared so we just kinda chilled there for a few hours. I sat with Elder Christensen and Elder Griffin. It was way funny! Elder Griffin goes home next week. One more of my best mission friends leaving. We´ll hang out up there in Newton, Utah after the mission.

We went into exchange with our zone leaders after the meeting. Elder Monteiro (not Elder D. Monteiro) stayed with me in the area. Our first visit was with Adelina, a more-or-less active member we are working with. She made a birthday dinner too. It was hot dogs, carrot cake, and ice cream! During the message she bore her testimony and cried a bunch.

Then we had the baptismal interviews. All the kids passed! Our other investigator Denis, that would have be baptized, said that his aunt wants him to wait a few more weeks to be sure it´s what he wants. Oh well, he´ll go for April.

Friday was the big day! March 9th! My 21st Birthday! It was incredible! First we had lunch with Aurelio and Vanuza, the family that has most helped us since we opened the area. It was a banquet! And the most incredible thing was that Aurelio, who is Coca-Cola´s worst enemy, bought what? Coca-Cola! No one believed it! First time ever! Then they made two desserts! After lunch we found a bunch of new investigators that are all super elect! At night the kids threw me another party! They are pretty poor so it wasn´t much but it was way special. After, we undid the exchange when Elder Hamblin and Elder Monteiro showed up at our house and we had a sleepover party with a ton of pizza!

Saturday we all about the baptism of the kids! The primary president gave the message and it was a mini theatre piece! So cool! I got to baptize Ana Beatriz, Elder Monteiro baptized Mauricio, and the Bishop baptized Joana.

The week ended really well with an amazing Sunday! Ray passed the sacrament for the first time and Jeferson received the aaronic priesthood! The kids were all confirmed and their mom committed to coming to church every week and got well integrated with the women of the ward. After church we had lunch with the bishop and his wife made a great lunch but the best part was the dessert that I requested. She made peach cream pie, just like Nana and Aunt Marilee! It was perfect and delicious!

We taught another new family and then had a way interesting experience. Crisleine is a woman we met a few weeks ago that we never got to visit. We finally visited her and it was an incredible lesson. She understood everything and has already read a ton of the Book of Mormon. Right when we were about to invite her for baptism, her crazy evangelical brother showed up with his gang of extremist evangelicals. They were all dressed in black muscle shirts and tried to circle us and beat us up but Crisleine saved us and snuck us out of the house. Now I´m even more convinced that she is elect.

At night was the ward musical. They made a short little piece about the restoration. It was so simple. The scenery wasn´t much and the acting could have been better, but the spirit was so strong! I loved it! I even cried during the first vision. Best part: we were sitting next to a referral we met right before the presentation and during the show he turned to us and ASKED to be baptized! After we showed him the baptismal font he said he asked, "Is it just one person per baptism? I would like my family to be baptized with me too." YES!!! We met a few other golden referrals at the activity too. Amazing!

Can you tell it was a good week? I love being a missionary. The Church is so true! You can´t deny it! Ate Mais!

Elder MacLane Taggart

Monday, March 5, 2012

March 5, 2012 Feliz da Vida

Hey World,

Well this week came and went and was really awesome! We had a ton of success and finished the week with two baptisms! Jeferson and Bruno both entered into the waters and followed the example of Jesus Christ being baptized and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. It was one of the most gratifying of my mission.

After the baptism, Jeferson´s mom Edivania, who will be baptized in the near future, came up to us and said, "You two deserve congratulations. Many missionaries have passed by and tried to help my son and none of them even budged him. You two worked a miracle! Thank you so much!" Can you imagine how good that felt to hear? haha!

Bruno is the first of a big family that we are working with to be baptized. His mom Silvana would have been baptized also but she didn´t pass the interview because of a difficult situation with her ex husband. Bruno is a really good kid who needs a lot of help and direction. Now he has the support of the entire ward. They are already trying to help him get back into school and the new bishop has already talked to him about receiving the Priesthood. Silvana will be baptized in a few weeks. At the baptism everyone was joking about the water being cold and she said, "When I get baptized you need to heat the water up alright?" She is a wonderful lady also who is battling to make her life better. She introduced us to her other kids this week and all of them need to get married... oh great. haha!

I also had a really good opportunity to help out one of my friends this week. Elder D. Monteiro had to go to the doctor again so I went and spent the day in the air conditioned mission office. Elder J. Oliveira is currently being kept close to the president because of some problems he´s having. I was his first zone leader and he trusts a lot in me. I asked to go to the supermarket with him and took the opportunity to talk to him and help him out. He opened up and I was able to help him understand some things about the mission a little bit better.

Well today marks the 3 month countdown to THE END. (Wow, while I wrote that a my eyes watered up.) I love being a missionary so much. I am so grateful for the 7/8ths of my mission so far and I´m glad I can stay a little bit longer. I have never felt so good and so close to my lord and savior Jesus Christ. Heavenly Father has blessed me so much so far and has been able to mold me into a more excellent person. I am simply content with my life right now.

Love you all and hope you all have an excellent week. I give you all permission to buy a cake on Friday to celebrate my birthday. The best part is that you won´t even have to share it with me! haha! More cake for you!

Elder MacLane W. Taggart

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

February 27, 2012 Reaping the Fruits of a Positive Attitude


Well folks I know that last week my email was short and not too sweet. This week we had Zone Conference and Pres. Pinho talked a little about the importance of writing to our families. He started to cry and say that our moms pray for us everyday and they have the right to know what´s going on in our lives. I felt kinda bad so this week will be much better.

Like I said this week we had Zone Conference. It was really good. Pres. Pinho talked about our desires and how we need to be a standard to the nations in everything that we do as missionaries. I´m currently studying the missionary chapters of the book of Alma so it was perfect because I kept thinking of all the amazing examples that we have of powerful missionaries that showed no fear in the face of a nation of nephite killers.

That ties into the division I did this week with the couple in my district. They are two really new missionaries, Elder Neilson and Elder Hendricks. During the division Elder Neilson had difficulty controlling the situation and getting to the point so we studied together about the power and authority of our calling. It was an amazing study session and we both learned a lot about our mantle as representatives of Jesus Christ and how we can´t be afraid to testify and challenge everyone to put the Restored Gospel in practice and follow the example of or savior into the waters of baptism. Elder Neilson and Elder Hendricks, after a few difficult months, now have a really good teaching group and should baptize a lot in March.

I really enjoy working as a district leader because I have been following and enormous change in our own area and in the other areas of our district. Our district was baptizing very little and the missionaries were all a bit disanimated, but over the past few weeks everything has been changing and it all had to start with our attitudes. Attitude changes everything! If you plant a bad seed in the beginning all you are going to reap are bad fruits. The truth is is that it is alot easier to be negative. Like a weed, negativity grows without being nurtured and spreads and suffocates everything around it. A negative attitude can destroy tons of work. It goes down to the root and puts everyone down. On the contrary, positivity stengthens and supports everything around it. Unfortunately, a positive attitude is hard to keep. You have to nurture it and you have to be able to pick yourself up when things don´t go well. But in the end the fruits of that good seed are so much better.

Our teaching group is going really well. This week we have planned to baptize Jefferson, Silvana and Bruno. They are all excited and decided to enter the water but they all are facing different challenges. Jefferson is way shy and knows very few young men in the ward but with the support of his part member family that all want him to baptize he is progressing.

Silvana is now facing some new challenges but is still moving forward. Her son Bruno, who is also marked to be baptized, is having some bad influences messing up his responsibilites as the man of the house and Silvana who works at night now has her exhusband taking care of the kids. He is trying to stop her from being baptized and wants her to start living with him again and break just about every commandment you can thing of. She told us that she wasn´t sure if she still wanted to be baptized. Yesterday we finally met the ex and shut him down as far and putting the stops on Silvanas baptism is concerned. We testified and challenged him to change is life and he rejected the invitation. She was able to see that he has absolutely now interest in changing his life and following Christ for now, and that if she decides to follow the path he is offering it will only destroy her and her family. At the end of the visit she said, "I will be baptized on Saturday!" Right on Silvana!

After we baptize the people we have in the next two weeks we don´t have anything. Well, we didn´t have anything. This week some of our old investigators appeared again and are more willing to fulfill commitments now. We also received a ton of referrals from the members of our ward and we have a new teaching group to get ready for April! Haha! Gotta plan ahead.

Well that´s it for this week. I leave you with a big toothy grin (you can´t really see it but be sure that it´s there). Hope all is well and just a reminder March 9th is coming up. For those who don´t know, March 9th is my birthday and I expect presents! haha! Just kidding! Cards would be just fine. Love you all!

Elder MacLane Taggart

Monday, February 20, 2012

February 20, 2012 Still Goin'

Hey Everyone,

Well I´m at the worst computer in the world today and I have been
trying to send pics to you guys for the past 40 minutes without
success and now i have no time left. Sorry the message is so short.
I´m happy, healthy, and loving the mission. Hope all is well.

Much Love,
Elder Taggart

Monday, February 13, 2012

February 13, 2012 Who Taught You to Pray Like That?


This week went really well. We are teaching a lot of really good people and the ward is super excited to work. We are getting really good referrals and our ward mission leader is ready to work. All things are looking sunny, even though the rain came back.

Our incomplete family that we are reactivating and baptizing the rest is going well. The women didn´t go to church but the kids went to the primary activity on Saturday and came to church on their own Sunday. They loved it. Mauricio, Joanna, Ana Beatrix, and Gustavo are all marked for baptism on the 26th. Ana Beatrix is definitely the most intelligent and spiritual and is helping the rest. We are going to involve the Releif Society more to get the moms back in church.

We´re working with a new family. The mom is named Silvana. She is a really wonderful lady who is really spiritual. She is a little slow but has a ton of faith. She recently separated from her husband and moved into her old house that her drug addict kids trashed and left abandoned for several years. We are teaching three of her kids: Willian, Silvia, and Bruno. They are all open and things are going really well. Silvana works at night and gets home at 7am. This sunday she showed up at church and we were so suprised! They loved church and later that night we had an amazing family home evening with them and a bunch of members. The plan is to baptize them on March 3rd.

We are also working with an awesome young man named Davi who is progressing really well and we are working with him for baptism in March. We read 2 Nephi 31 with him and he accepted the baptismal invitation without hesitation.

Something horrible happened with our investigator Monica. Friday night her exhusband attacked and tried to kill her. We went to see her on Saturday. He broke her hand and stabbed her in the back with a broken beer bottle. She has a huge black eye. She was destroyed physically and spritually. She is way disanimated and didn´t go to church. We are trying our best to help her but it is a super difficult situation. She is a recovering drug addict also and isn´t having very much success in stopping to smoke or drink. I feel so bad for her. We really need to save her.

Well on a lighter note, funny story. At the family home evening on Sunday someone invited an evangelical preacher. In the end he gave the closing prayer (evangelical style). Our recent convert Ray was there too and after the prayer he asked the preacher "Are you deaf?" Preacher: "No, why?" Ray: "Because you were yelling during your prayer. Who taught you to pray like that? Your pastor? God´s not deaf." The preacher was ready to fight with him but another member stepped in and changed the subject. I could not believe that Ray did that! He is such a quiet guy. I think that was a sign that he will be a really awesome missionary. haha!

Anway, that´s the news. Hope all is well. Much love!
Elder MacLane Taggart

Monday, February 6, 2012

February 6, 2012 Where's the Water

Well folks,

One more week has come and gone. I have exactly 4 months until I´ll be back in SLC, scary!

Anyway I mentioned last week that it was raining alot. Well this week has been the opposite. It is so HOT! I have never sweated so much in my life. To add to it our neighborhood is without water. Compicated but managable.

Monday we had an awesome district activity. A sister in our ward wanted to make lunch for us and it was a banquet! Incredible foot and after the lunch we played around in her garden. Elder Lemes, an old friend of mine, accidentely lost one of her pet birds and we spent a good hour looking around in the trees to find it. We didn´t have much luck.

Unfortunately Alexsandra told us Monday that she is not going to be baptized for now. Her whole family was putting pressure on her and her boyfriend (who does not have the best intentions) basically told her he´d break up with her if she baptized. As much as we tried to help her make the right choice she ended up quitting. I was really sad but that´s just the way it is sometimes. At least we have more time to work with more people now.

We are working with a bunch of people right now. We have a less active family that we are trying to reactivate that has 4 children that need to be baptized and they are way open. We visited them with a counselor in the bishoprick and the primary president that was a huge success. They are way excited. We also have a woman named Viviane who is going well. She is very frank and is loving our visits. We also have Monica who is a recovering drug addict who is now ready to live the gospel. She is very kind but lacks confidence so we are going to build her up a bunch.

Saturday was interesting. I don´t know if I´ve mentioned this but Elder Monteiro has a health problem called cron syndrom which is a digestive problem that can be really dangerous. He had to go to the hospital this Saturday to take his medicine which is a 3 to 4 hour process. I had to stay in the mission office and help out there. He ended up finishing so late that we had to sleep at the office. Sunday morning we had to leave at 6 to get to our area in time for church.

Today we had a zone barbeque in Embu. It was way fun! There were transfers this week so we all got to say goodbyes and talk about how fun this last transfer was. And eat a bunch of meat! haha!

Well that´s all for now,

Elder Taggart

Monday, January 30, 2012

January 30, 2012 Ray of Sunshine

Well World,

This was a really good week. Even with the rain things are looking good. Unfortunately I´m using the worste computer in the LAN house and will have to very short on words this week.

Tuesday our mission had the priveledge of receiving the visit of Elder M. Russel Ballard. Apostle! It was such and incredibel meeting. It´s incredible to see how simple he is. A truly humble servant of the Lord. With some questions he just said, "I don´t know Elder, you have to ask the Lord." And the love he showed for his wife also was impressive. I enjoyed the meeting alot. He talked about how the mission is the only time in our lives that we will be able to truly represent Jesus Christ and that we should show our love for him in everything and in every moment. He also said that instead of complaining about the problems in our areas we need to be the solutions.

I also had to get my toe worked on this week. After stubbing it last week and breaking the nail, it turned into a big swollen, ingrown thing that needed to get fixed. The foot doctor was suprized I was even managing to stand up let alone walk all day. He did a really good job and though it was painful I felt better immediately after the treatment. It´s still an ugly little thing but it´s getting better.

Ray was baptized on Saturday and it was incredible. A ton of members came and the rain stopped right before the baptism started. After 2 weeks of straight rain, the sun came bursting through the clouds and there was a beautiful blue sky. It was awesome. After the confirmation on Sunday he grabbed and hugged us on the pulpit. All the members liked that. Ray still has a long way to go but has already changed a lot. It will be really interesting to see what he´s like in 5 years.

Well, like I said, short on words. Bye!
Elder MacLane Taggart

Monday, January 23, 2012

February 23, 2012 The Most Anticipated Baptism Ever

Hey World!

Well this week was a very busy roller coaster. I learned a lot about perseverance (sp?).

Monday was a normal work day because we went to the temple this week so P-day was on Wednesday. We got to visit a man who is really interested named Danilo. He is 25 years old and we went to give him the Book of Mormon. We gave it to him and he got all teary eyed and said, "You guys are the only ones who remembered my birthday!" It was so perfect.

Tuesday we had District Meeting and I gave a truly inspired training. I was studying about how the Holy Ghost works in people for conversion and read D&C 50 and says when you teach by the spirit and people receive by the spirit it creates light that builds upon itself. Right then I looked up and noticed the light bulb and thought about how it was such a perfect representation. Inside the light bulb are two metal wires joined in the middle by the conductive material that burns to make light. My training talked about how we need to make sure our preparation allows the energy to flow through us and how we need to teach people with desire so that the energy can flow through them and create light when the Holy Ghost testifies! It was awesome!

Wednesday was great! We went to the temple and had an awesome session, followed by and awesome churrasco session! Meat! And at night was Gleice´s baptismal interview that she passed without a doubt. Gleice is probably the most anticipated baptism ever. She has be faithfully attending church for almost 6 years now and could never be baptized because her deadbeat husband didn´t want to marry her. New Year’s came around and she decided that it was more important to have a commitment with God than with a man that didn´t even want to marry her, so she kicked him out and we marked the baptism.

Thursday was kind of frustrating. Elder D. Monteiro had new missionary training that went all day and then at night I had to go do a baptismal interview super far away. We get to the house and the woman was drinking coffee! We wasted the whole night! I got really mad and realized how far I still have to go in the patience area.

Friday was a day that really tested our faith. All of our visits fell through and no one was home. We had nothing to do and it was raining. At one point I thought, "Let´s just got to the Bishop´s house and eat something." I had a really strong impression that God was testing our faith and right when we started walking toward the Bishop I got the impression that there was someone on the street we needed to find. We walked a little bit and I knocked on a house. A little boy appeared behind us and said "My friend lives here but he´s not home Elder." The kid is a member of the ward that we had never met and we asked him if he knew anyone on the street. He said my sister isn´t a member and she´s home right now. So we went. Her name is Monica and she recently separated from her husband and is looking for a church. She really likes the LDS church but is a little confused because of her other family members who go to other churches. It was an incredible experience.

Saturday we found a huge family that we are going to start teaching this week. There are about 20 people that live there. Should be interesting.

Sunday morning was Gleice's baptism. The whole ward we there! There we multiple musical numbers that the members prepared and everyone was crying. It was awesome! One of the best baptisms ever! The ward is really starting to have more confidence in us and we are receiving many referrals and a ton of members want to do visits with us. I love being a missionary!

Elder Taggart

Thursday, January 19, 2012

January 16, 2012 Rain, Rain, Go Away

Dear Everyone,

Well, one more week down. I can´t believe the transfer is already half over. Time goes by so fast it scares me. This week in São Paulo it rained everyday and continues. I prefer rain to sun though.

Our investigators are going so well! Gleice is super excited for her baptism this Sunday. We´re going there with the bishop today and she will be interviewed later this week. She has been waiting for this for five years! It´s exciting!

Ray is our other miracle. He just keeps getting better and better. We left the Word of Wisdom pamphlet with him and when we went back he had already stopped drinking coffee. We went to a stake activity with him Saturday and on the way home he was asking us questions about when he could recieve the priesthood and what happens when the prophet dies. He is so good! He gave an amazing prayer this week that made me cry. He said, "Thank you God for the priveledge of having your servants in my home to teach me the true gospel." I love being a missionary!!!

We also had interviews with Pres. Pinho this week. He told me that I need to get the area ready for a new missionary because he might call me as a zone leader again. He also talked to me about preparing to go home because I told him I was kind of scared. He said you have to make plans or you might get lost.

I did an exchange this week with the Elders in Itapecerica 2. I had the chance to get to know Elder Viana better. He had to sacrifice a lot to serve a mission. He was a professional soccer player before leaving on the mission and he gave it all up. He was making a ton of money and was getting pretty famous in his city and put it all away to serve the Lord. That´s someone who knows the importance of serving a mission.

I had a super spiritual experience this week! We were planning at night for the next day and we were praying to finish up the day and we asked in the prayer to let us know if we needed to change anything. I felt really stronging that we needed to change our plans in the morning but I didn´t know what to do. When I got up the morning I knew the exact street that we needed to go to and that their was a family waiting for us. So we changed the plans and went knocking doors. At the end of the street we found a family of seven that let us in and they accepted the invitation to be baptized! Go Holy Ghost!

It´s exciting to be here in Itapecerica 1 because lots of big changes are happening. Last year only five people were baptized here and the whole ward was way down, but now everyone has the missionary spirit and we are recieving tons of referrals and people are coming back that were less active. I´m hoping to be able to open up the back wall of the sacrament hall next week! It´s so cool to see how awesome the Gospel is! I love it!

Well I gotta go! We are going to the temple this week so we have to work normally today. Oh and just so you all know, I will be meeting Elder M. Russell Ballard next week. He´s visiting our mission. Jealous? haha!

See ya!
Elder MacLane Taggart

Monday, January 9, 2012

January 9, 2012 Wearing the Name of My Savior

Dear Everyone,

Well another week has come and gone. This week another important date passed, January 5th. Why is this date important? Because it means that the 5 month countdown has begun and I only have the fingers of one hand left as a servant of the Lord... mixed emotions for sure.

The work is going well. Opening the area is a little challenging but when it´s more challenging the miracles start to happen. For example, Gleice. Gleice is a woman who has been going to church for 5 years, her children are all baptized. She has been battling to marry her husband for all this time then one day she decided that her desire to baptize was stronger than her desire to keep fighting with her husband. So she kicked him out and will be baptized on the 22nd!

The ward is also super excited to have new missionaries in the area and they are getting into gear as far as missionary work is going. The past two weeks we have received tons of referrals! One was named Raiy. He is about 20-years-old and doesn´t have very developed social skills but does anything you ask him so he is fulfilling all of his commitments. He understands all the principles that we teach but at times gets kind of confused so we´re taking it kind of slow. After church this week he came up to me and said, "Thank you for having guided me. I have found the right path and will be here every Sunday." It made me feel so good for him to actually open up a little bit like that. He´s preparing to be baptized on the 28th along with his brother.

We also have Alexssandra who is progressing really well. She has really started opening up to us after the initial shock of trading the Elders. Seeing Nayara, her best friend, get baptized and confirmed really helped her a lot.

We had a really funny family home evening this week with a less active family. We show up and it´s almost sunset to find the house completely black. Why? The power went out, but the family insisted that we still have the family home evening, alright grab the candles. I didn´t know how many children the woman had and discovered that she has 9! And she takes care of some of the neighbors' children and their was another family from the ward there. Result:Chaos! I have come to discover that I cannot handle children at all. I started to feel short of breath and started losing my patient because they would not be quiet. My the end I just had to sit down and watch it all go down instead of being part of it. Ha ha! How am I going to be a dad!?!

This Sunday´s testimony meeting was one of the most powerful I have ever been too. I don´t even know why but the spirit was so strong and everyone bore amazing testimonies. Nayara was confirmed and during the testimonies she got up and bore hers! It was amazing. After her I got up and I talked about the privilege to wear the name Jesus Christ on my name tag. When I sat down I started thinking about what it will be like when I can´t use my name tag and started to cry because I felt like a piece of my soul was going to be torn off. A ton of people got up and bore their testimonies about missionary work. Adriano, a brother who did a visit with us this week, said, "We have amazing missionaries here in our ward now. The one visit I did with them changed my week and they have such a good spirit. They need our help! Let´s help them!" Ha ha! A few other people got up and said how the ward needed get working. To finish it all up we sang 'Bela Sião' (Beautiful Zion) which is one of my favorite hymns. I couldn´t even sing because I was crying! I bet a few people were giving us weird looks... Ha ha!

Well that was the week! Hope you liked it! Bye!
Elder MacLane Taggart

Monday, January 2, 2012

January 2, 2012 Opening the Area

Dear Everyone,

Well this was definitely an interesting and exciting week, full of new experiences and lots of fireworks!

On Tuesday we got to meet our trainees. Mine is named Elder Monteiro! He is from the interior of São Paulo so is serving basically at home, it´s a 4 hour drive to his house from here. He is really cool. I was worried about who I would be training because if it was an american he would not understand anything, but if he was brasilian he would probably be proud and hard to teach. Luckily Elder Monteiro speaks portuguese and is super humble. He almost couldn´t serve a mission because of an intestinal problem he has, but he did everything he could to get it under control and he is so grateful to be on the mission. So now all I have to do is help him have spiritual experiences that will mold him into the best missionary ever!

We got to the area and the whole week we pretty much just ran around trying to get to know all the investigators which was a little difficult considering the fact that my companion was so wide-eyed at district meeting that he forgot the Area Book in the other area and we won´t get it till tomorrow. It seems like most of the people they were teaching are way long term investigators that really can´t be baptized at the moment.

The old elders did leave us a christmas/new year´s present though! Nayara! Nayara is a young woman who was completely prepared for baptism when we got here and this Saturday on new year´s ever she was baptized! Her entire non-member family went and loved the baptism. She has a little brother that has already been to church and her mom said she wants to be baptized too but the parents need to get married.

So let me explain a little bit about my area Itapecerica I. My area is the outskirts of 3 cities. We live on a three way border with the city of São Paulo, Embu das Artes (where I stayed last week) and the city of Itapecerica da Serra. From what I can tell the area has really good members because after we both spoke on Sunday we were attacked and marked a ton of family home evenings to get to know a bunch of referrals that all the members have for us. It´s kind of lower class mixed with middle class so it doesn´t seem too dangerous. There are parts of the area that are just green but the parts were we work are just concrete and brick.

New Year´s was a blast, literally. Our house here has an enormous window that looks out on the ghetto and it really felt like I was in Iraq. It was impossible to sleep because of all the fireworks. They started around 6 and went the whole night long! We just sat in bed watching it all from our house as a bunch of little punks tried throwing bombs into our window. Midnight was insane! The whole city just lit up and it was non-stop for 10 minutes! Their was so much smoke in the air by the end that you couldn´t even see the other side of the street, just the multi-colored burts going on overhead.

So I´m still a little dazed and confused with the whole opening the area thing but things are under pretty good control and I am pumped to have an amazing week. This morning I had to teach Elder Monteiro how to wash his clothes and how to us a gas stove... patience is definitely a virtue.

Peace and Love,
Elder Taggart